Thursday, March 13, 2014

So, the question is not what's in your wallet, but what's on your key ring...

via Futility Closet...
After observing security measures at a number of organizations, University of California psychologist Robert Sommer reflected that a person’s status seems to be tied to his keyring:

S is a person’s status within the organization, D is the number of doors he must open to perform his job, and K is the number of keys he carries. A janitor who can open 20 doors but must carry 20 keys has a status of 1; he’s outranked by a secretary who can open only two doors but can do it with a single key. A staff scientist who can open six doors or cupboards using two keys has status 3, and the lab director might open 15 doors with three keys, giving him a status score of 5.
They’re all outranked by the president of the company, who never has to carry keys at all, since there’s always someone around to open doors for him. “With a K of zero and a high D,” Sommer concluded wryly, “his status rank in the company reaches infinity.”

(“Keys, Kings and Kompanies,” from The Worm Runner’s Digest, 3:1 [March 1961], 52-54)